Canada GP Officials React After Embarrassing F1 Event

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202406091153 // Usage for editorial use only //
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202406091153 // Usage for editorial use only //

Canadian race organisers and local officials have spent the week in damage control.

Formula 1 fans may have revelled in the close and exciting race in changeable conditions last weekend in Montreal, but off the track, problems abounded.

Not only did the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve officials attract the FIA’s ire with the post-chequered flag track invasion by spectators, but there was also flooding and leaks in the teams’ garages.

F1’s governing body said race organisers Octane Racing Group breached the international sporting code by not controlling the crowd and failing “to take reasonable measures, resulting in a dangerous situation”.

Some drivers were late to key appointments due to congestion and circuit entrance closures amid disagreements with local police, while city centre businesses were furious that they were forced to evacuate by the Montreal Fire Department.

The QMI press agency reports that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali even personally apologised for the chaos to Formula 1 teams.

Tourism minister Caroline Proulx said: “I am extremely concerned and very embarrassed by what I read and by what I experienced at the Grand Prix.

“My job is to bring tourists to Quebec,” she added. “It is my job to ensure that the image is perfect internationally, particularly in an event like Formula 1, where there are a billion viewers. A billion viewers!

“So yes, I’m uncomfortable, and I didn’t like what I witnessed.”

Broadcaster TVA Nouvelles claims that the next step is a meeting next week between Domenicali and the mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante.

“It was the CEO of Formula 1 who sent a letter to Ms Plante to request the meeting,” said the report, “with the aim of making improvements for the next race in 2025.”

Race promoter Octane admits the race organisation was unacceptable and that an investigation is now taking place, claims Le Journal de Montreal newspaper.

A plan must be presented to the FIA by the end of September.

A journalist for Le Journal de Montreal said: “I would be surprised if the future of the grand prix was in immediate danger.

“But the city and the event organizers will have to act quickly, otherwise we could see the end of F1 in Montreal.”

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